America's two major political parties presented different angles on their presidential nominees in conventions in the last two weeks, Democratic pollster Paul Maslin of Madison said in a TV interview Sunday.
Republicans framed Donald Trump as a change candidate in a political world of status quo. Democrats' message around Hillary Clinton was that America is a diverse, complicated country that needs to work together, not individually.
When asked by the host what keeps him awake at night with 100 days to go before the November election, Maslin said on "UpFront with Mike Gousha" that it's wondering where the voters are on the two candidates.
"They don't like either one of them, and ultimately they're going to say, who's got something that's going to help me and my future and my family economically?" Maslin said. "Who's going to keep the country safe and secure domestically and abroad, internationally? And then third, maybe even the most important thing, does one of these people have their act together, can actually do this job and make me feel confident in this mess that they're going to handle things? I think that's perhaps where the things started to turn this week toward Hillary Clinton and against Donald Trump, but we've still got three months to go."
The RealClearPolitics polling average showed Clinton with a slight lead, and the FiveThirtyEight.com electoral map on Sunday had the race just about even.
Maslin said he sees Florida as a must-win state for Trump, and Ohio and Pennsylvania likely fall into the same category.
"Presumably because of all that's happened here, including what he said about immigrants and Latinos, Colorado, perhaps Nevada may be moving away from him and those have generally been close states," Maslin said. "Tim Kaine's selection as (Democratic vice presidential nominee) I think makes (Trump's) odds tougher now in Virginia, which is also a crucial state.
"The only way for them to get to 270 votes is ultimately they have to win Florida and Ohio and Pennsylvania and probably somewhere else — an Iowa or a New Hampshire or Wisconsin, but somewhere else as well. It's still possible. It's an inside straight, but inside straights sometimes hit."
Wisconsin's importance to the presidential election is yet to be determined, Maslin said. Clinton isn't yet running advertising here, but Democrats would have to combat Republican spending, he said.
In a Marquette Law School Poll earlier this month, Clinton had a six-point lead among registered Wisconsin voters.
"It's not a runaway," Maslin said. "The polling prior to the conventions ... had Hillary Clinton with a single-digit lead but not a double-digit lead. And a lead that's closer to four, five, six points, which is more like (Barack) Obama (in) 2012 than Obama in 2008 when it was a blowout, double digits. Yes, she has an advantage. No, it's not a big margin."